These can be a very tricky group to deal with, as they are definitely not short on enthusiasm or a passion for the craft. They are knowledgeable about the product and the quite often have well-educated palates. They are fascinated by the classic cocktails that bartenders create and the magazine articles that they appear in. The only downside is that these aspects of bartending make up less than 1% of our jobs behind the bar.
The other 99% of our job is cleaning bathrooms, wiping down bottles, tending to guest needs, and otherwise running a viable business. All of the glamorous stuff that is read about in the press is something that will occur only after years of drudgery behind the bar… and maybe not even then. The grueling hours late into the night are not the sort of thing that make it onto the Food Network, which only reinforces the fact that so much of the bar industry is outside the reference of everyday folks.
Many great bartenders began by sitting on the other side of the bar. But before you tap into the inexperienced but enthusiast barfly, consider having them work a few trial shifts as a barback. If they excel at barbacking, then they might eventually become a strong bartender. But if on their first night they begin bellyaching about sore feet and staying out late, they probably won’t have what it takes in the long-term.
All characters appearing in this work are for sake of discussion. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.